Vanquish E3 Impressions

When Vanquish was first announced to be in development, many gamers were unsure just what to expect from developer Platinum Games and new director Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil fame. PlayStation LifeStyle recently got a hands-on with the game at E3, and boy, was it good.

Vanquish is set in the near future with Rusia and the United States fighting over the remaining energy resources. Trying to get the upper hand, the US built a space station to harness the energy of the sun. The space station is captured by the Russians and your task is to take it back at any cost.

As I got into a level and started to take the game for a spin, I could immediately see the Platinum Games stamp all of this, especially after playing Bayonetta. The game has a certain flair to it from the acrobatic melee combat to the jet packed guitar slides to cover. The game has a very unique style to it that I haven’t seen much in Third-Person Shooters.

The game employs a cover system that everyone should becoming very familiar with after playing games like Uncharted 2, but the kick here that makes it new is the ability to slide into cover using the boosters attached to your suit. It is very easy to slide into cover. The feature adds a whole new element to the entire cover system. Should you be caught in this boost and run into enemies you are able to shoot during the slide, meaning that no matter the situation, you will be firing on all cylinders. Not only does the game feature the boost system but also the AR Mode. In this mode the players reflexes will heighten, making it seem as though you have slowed down time. This allows the players to get himself setup for a far more accurate shot. This mode can be activated by the player or activated passively as you get low on health. Be careful though as both the AR Mode and Boost are handled with the same energy bar so once its out you must wait until it recharges to start again.

The game really pushes you to move quickly beyond cover to assault a certain objective, not just sit behind cover the entire game. You will always be on the move here and with that in mind, its great to know that the melee combat in the game is one of the best I have seen in a shooter. You will be able to punch and kick just as you would in an action game such as Bayonetta and each of these attacks will depend on the weapon you are carrying at the time. Speaking on weapons, you don’t actually pick up the weapons and carrying them on your character, instead you carry a device that mimics and transforms into the weapon you have selected. These weapons are upgradable in the game through use so if you only use one weapon through the game, the rest won’t be very affective should you decide to use them sparingly.

Vanquish is all about style, which is something we have come to expect from developer Platinum Games. From the suit you wear to the weapons you use, everything looks very unique. Even the enemies in the game feature the same style with enemy ships approaching you only to transform into ground units mid fight. Not only will you have to worry about this but also the environment in the game which is just as much of an enemy. The level we were shown behind closed doors had you assaulting up a hill on the space station but not only were you fighting enemies, but parts of buildings were also falling down the hill.

We were assured classic Platinum Games tongue-in-cheek humor makes its way into the game as well and while we saw zero cut scenes, we did find one piece of evidence to support this. During our closed door demo, the crew at Sega had the main character Sam light up a cigarette mid battle, puff it a few times and then flick it to the side. We were then told that this was actually a method of decoy that could be used in the game, causing the opposing robots to focus on the cigarette and not the player as you dart out the other side of cover.

Finally we were told that there would not be any Co-op or Online MP in the game; the game will be a strictly single player, story driven experience. This is not an issue as long as the story and characters are well done. Hopefully we will learn more on this part of the game in the future but based on the combat, this is a game that you need to look out for when it releases, hopefully, winter of this year.